America is home to 59 national parks. The parks have been designated as national parks due to their unique features or recreational opportunities. California is home to the most national parks at nine. Alaska has the second most parks at eight, and Utah has the third most at five. This post looks at the 10 most-visited parks of 2015. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to visit each of the parks listed below, and I can attest to their stunning beauty.
Great Smoky Mountains
Each year over ten million visitors make the trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. That’s nearly double the amount of people who visit the next park. The park features 800 miles of trails where visitors can encounter bears, raccoons, and turkeys. Due to the abundance of flowers that grow in the park, the park’s nickname is the “wildflower park.”
The Grand Canyon is one of America’s most famous national parks. The canyon itself stretches for 277 miles and is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. If you walked to the bottom of the canyon and back, it would take you two days. Two of the most popular activities when visiting are hiking and taking a helicopter tour of the canyon.
When you visit the Rocky Mountain National Park, you will find 150 lakes and 450 miles of streams. Longs Peak is one of the most popular mountains located in the park. Bear Lake is located at the heart of the park and features several hiking trails.
Yosemite National Park is the most popular park in California. Nearly 95% of the park is considered wilderness. It features giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, and waterfalls. If you visit the park, you will find 800 miles of hiking trails. Overnight hiking trips require a wilderness permit and bear resistant food storage.
Yellowstone is the United States’ first national park. It may be most famous for its geothermal features like the Old Faithful Geyser. Grizzly bears, wolves, and bison all live within the park’s boundaries. July is the park’s most busiest month. Yellowstone’s hot waters feature bacteria that are some of the most primitive life forms on the planet. The park is also home to over 1,700 species of trees.
Zion National Park is located in Utah. It features a number of mountains, canyons, and naturally -formed arches. Over thirty different types of reptiles call the park home. Guided horseback riding trips are popular during spring and summer. When you visit the park, be on the lookout for desert bighorn sheep which were reintroduced in 1973.
The Olympic National Park features four regions one of which is the Pacific coastline. Visitors can spend an entire day hiking along the beach. The most popular coastal trail is the Ozette Loop. Due to the number of species that are native to the park, scientists consider the area to be a biological reserve.
Grand Teton National Park is located just 10 miles south of Yellowstone. The park is named after Grand Teton, the highest mountain in the park and a popular destination for mountaineering. Camping and hiking are two other popular activities to do in the park. It is also a popular location for trout fishing.
Acadia National Park is located in Maine. It’s the oldest national park located east of the Mississippi River. It features numerous species of wildlife like moose, beavers, bobcats, and coyotes. The park also features many areas, like the Sieur de Monts Spring Area, that are perfect for birdwatching.
The official symbol of Glacier National Park is the mountain goat. Hiking and fly fishing are two of the park’s most popular activities. Visitors can also tour some of the park’s lakes on a historic wooden tour boat. Some of the boats have been in operation since the 1920s. 260 different species of bird have been recorded in the park.